Feast Review: Going through the rabbit hole with Heston Blumental the Mad Hatter

March 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

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hestonHESTON’S VICTORIAN FEAST: Channel 4, Tuesday 3rd March, 9:00pm, Alert me

The quarterback of celebrity chefs Heston Blumental is back with a new series that sees him begin a trip through time after realising that he “had a lot to learn from history? – oh Heston, how humble you are.

The show starts with the dramatic utterance of the phrase, “throw away your cook books and don’t try this at home?. Wow, how lucky- there was I about to strain the essence of Cherry Pie into a five flavoured drink – boy would my face be red.

For what’s meant to be a culinary show you might be better equipped with a lab coat and goggles instead of your standard apron. In fact at times you may perceive that you are actually watching an episode of the now defunct Tomorrow’s world.

This is not exactly recession time television. Many of the items that he whips up in his kitchen while not spying on the guests in true voyeuristic fashion would be both impossible and too expensive for you to make in your own kitchen- a true shame as this has been the strength of the recent spat of Channel 4 culinary  shows. It’s a middle-of-the-roader lacking both the humanity of Jamie Oliver’s school dinners and the hilarity of “Come Dine With Me.?

The viewer sees the celebrity in-crowd gob-smacked and incapable of an expert insight dissect the nuances of taste with only gutteral bodily sounds; umms, errs  and appreciative smacking of lips.  They might as well be huddled in a cave waving clubs and sporting animal skins. Did anyone not think to have actual experts of the Victorian culinary field on to have their say?

I don’t really think that this was about the challenge as Heston suggests during the show, more the clever things that this culinary alchemist can do in front of a bunch of celebs, and what better way to get some validation than to recreate a world of impossible foods through Alice in Wonderland’s tea party.

Don’t get me wrong, I think what Heston does in this show is astounding. Speaking to journo Rageh Omaar on the joy of communication that is Twitter, he fairly commented, “The show makes you realise that he is a real innovator and reminds you food is meant to be fun…it was like being cooked for by the Mad Hatter?.

Sure, I understand that it’s all a bit of fun and alot of it (especially the erotic jelly…hehe) is out of the remit of what I deemed actually possible, but what I fail to see is the precise entertainment the viewer of this show will get from Heston acting like a Children’s magician.

Kwabena Oppong